The Secret Diary of Kitty Cask: Smuggler’s Daughter by Philip Ardagh


Illustrated by Jamie Littler.

Published by Nosy Crow, 2019.

The Secret Diary of Kitty Cask: Smuggler’s Daughter is set in 18th century Cornwall. It’s an exciting, action-packed adventure. Kitty and her family live in a small fishing village. Her father is the head of a gang of smugglers who are trying to keep their contraband and illegal activities hidden from the excisemen. Kitty is supposed to stay safely at home but she regularly creeps out at night to watch her father and his men at work. Very soon she gets caught up in the action. There’s a shipwreck, secret caves, betrayal and a prison break.

I enjoyed how the book is a mixture of fact and fiction. The characters and settings are fictional but the book is packed with interesting factual detail – much of which is included in the footnotes. The Secret Diary of Kitty Cask is highly entertaining historical fiction for a young audience; it really brings a place, a time and a way of life alive for its readers.

Kitty is an excellent lead character: brave, resourceful and quick-thinking. Philip Ardagh has created a lively supporting cast of colourful characters and sinister villains too. The book is wonderfully illustrated throughout and is perfect for newly independent readers who are ready for a longer chapter book.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 7+

I originally reviewed this book for the BooksforTopics website (click here for link). Thank you to Nosy Crow and BooksforTopics for sending me this book to review.


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